Recipe: Veal Spiedini with Saffron Potatoes

Café Cortina’s Anthony M. Giannola recreates a childhood favorite


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“This meal comes from my nonno [grandfather] Giacomo Sanfratello, who has been cooking this dish since the ’70s,” says Anthony M. Giannola of Café Cortina in Farmington Hills. “As a child, I couldn’t wait ‘til I visited Nonno Giacomo to eat the spiedini.” He says that in most Italian homes, typically the women cooked. “Not at Nonno’s. He would always cook, and my nonna [grandmother] just prepared the water for the pasta. Today, at 87, he still shops every day, visiting the Palermo Ballarò market, selecting ingredients for his many recipes,” Giannola says. He adds that he loves working at Café Cortina “because it feels as close to Italy’s life and food as possible.” 


Veal Spiedini with Saffron Potatoes (Serves 3)

Saffron Potatoes

1 pound new potatoes
½ onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 unpeeled garlic cloves (unpeeled cloves give more aroma, then remove)
Pinch pepperoncino flakes
2 pinches saffron
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Cento Italian Seasoning

Directions
Wash and cut potatoes in squares. Julienne onion. Place all ingredients in bowl, mix well, and transfer to a tall oven pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes uncovered, rotating every 10 minutes.

Vitello Spiedini

9 pieces of 1 ½ ounce Provimi veal scaloppini thinly pounded (you can also use thinly sliced sirloin, but pounded to tenderize)
9 bay leaves
1 pound bread crumbs, plus ¼ pound separated
2 to 3 garlic cloves
1 cup pearl onion
½ pound mozzarella cheese
½ pound sharp asiago or Fontinella cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 to 2 parsley stems
½ pound San Marzano plum tomatoes (use Alta Cucina or Cento)
3 3 ½-inch wood or stainless steel skewers

Directions
Put 1 pound bread crumbs in a big salad bowl. Chop half an onion, and chop garlic very fine (not purée). Add to bread crumbs. Cut mozzarella and asiago into cubes and add to bread crumbs. Add salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons oil, and parsley. Crush the tomatoes and add to mix. Add water if needed to make mix moist. Stuff each scaloppini with the mix and roll. Skewer 1 rollatini, 1 small onion sliced, (same size as a bay leaf), and 1 bay leaf. Repeat until you have 3 rollatini on each skewer. Bread the skewers by dipping them in the olive oil then the plain bread crumbs. Sear in a pan 2 minutes each side, then put in an oven pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes (do not cover). If the top becomes brown, turn them so they don’t burn.

 

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